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An adult spotted lanternfly


"Bugs and Pests"

Do you like insects? Do you get “buggy” at the sight of a Japanese beetle?  Are you curious about an insect you found in your back yard? Well, you’ve come to the right place, because in this section, we’re all about bugs.

You may think all bugs are “pesky pests,” but some are actually beneficial. Take the waterfern beetle, which eats destructive weeds and other pests. Some insects, like the spotted lanternfly (see above), are beautiful but highly destructive to crops.

Here at ARS, we have teams of scientists and researchers specializing in entomology (insects). They use scientific information and tools to detect, control, and eradicate insects that negatively impact crops, animals, and humans. In fact, we even use insects to attack other insects, a method called biocontrol.

Be sure to stop by often to learn about our insect research – we promise not to bite or sting.

In This Section
Locking Out Viruses

Researchers develop novel way to prevent the spread of plant disease.

Natural Solutions to Invasive Plants

The invasive Arundo plant threatens local water supplies. See how ARS scientists are identifying insects that are naturally equipped to fight this problem.

Fighting Insect Pests with Insect Friends

ARS researchers are helping farmers use beneficial insects to protect their crops.

The Insects Inside

We all know that insects surround us, but what about the ones that get closer to home – inside our homes?

Tick Tactics

At ARS, researchers are working on new approaches to limit ticks’ ability to spread.

Inside the Bite

ARS scientists are inventing new tools to investigate blood-sucking insects.

Wasp Kills Foes From the Inside Out

These parasitic wasps lay eggs inside the developing fly larva and consume them from the inside.

Protecting Our Pollinators

Pollinators are essential to healthy, biodiverse ecosystems.

This Caterpillar Feeds on Orchids

ARS scientists are constantly discovering and describing new species of insects like the ostrich moth.

Insect Fight Club: Stink Bug vs. Samurai Wasp

A tiny parasitic wasp known as the samurai wasp, may be the solution to the major economic damage to crops perpetrated by the stink bug.

Three Strikes and You're Out

Learn how ARS scientists are working hard to fight this pest and protect our beloved ash trees.

Persimillis: Saver of the Strawberries

This mite is used by farmers to attack and feast on bugs that destroy strawberries and other crops inside greenhouses and fields.

The Cactus Moth

These caterpillars started as a “friend” but the species became an invasive “pest” when it was discovered in Florida.

Beauty or a Beast?

ARS researchers have been hot on the trail of the destructive spotted lanternfly.

Dusty Rose Myrtle Borer

This moth is native to Southeast Asia and its caterpillar feeds on the tissues inside stems of plants in the myrtle family.

Crapemyrtle Bark Scale

This insect is native to East Asia and feeds on the sap of the vividly colorful crapemyrtle trees, as well as apple and blackberry plants.